By Jennie Jones Scherbinski
Citizen science is nothing new to the birding community, though it may not have always been formally recognized. If you submit bird lists to eBird, Audubon, or iNaturalist, congratulations! You are a citizen scientist. Ever participated in one of our local Christmas Bird Counts? Then you have joined in one of the longest-running citizen science programs, which has been conducted every year since 1900. Citizen scientists help fill in important data gaps and have helped to identify changes in species range, threatened or endangered species, and sometimes even new species.
If you are interested in participating in citizen science, Lahontan Audubon Society and our partners offer a variety of ways to get involved. We regularly share these opportunities through email and social media updates. Here are a few highlights to be on the lookout for:
Climate Watch - National Audubon Society first debuted the Climate Watch program in 2016. This biannual survey is conducted for 12 targeted species to help understand population-level changes that may be occurring in response to the changing climate. Lahontan Audubon Society is excited to join this effort starting this spring survey period. Surveys are conducted once during the survey period (May 15-June 15) at 12 points selected based on habitat availability. Currently, we are looking for volunteers who are knowledgeable about local bird habitats and can help us to identify suitable survey points for target species. For more information, visit Audubon's Climate Watch Website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating with Lahontan Audubon Society.
Christmas Bird Count (CBC) - The Christmas Bird Count is an annual point count survey conducted across the country in late December/early January. The Lahontan Audubon Society has participated since its founding in 1963. There are several CBC’s that occur in Northwestern Nevada coordinated by dedicated volunteers and we will share more information towards the end of the year. In the meantime, learn more about the CBC or review results from last year’s count.
Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) - For one weekend every February, participants with the Great Backyard Bird Count spend at least 15 minutes doing a survey of all the birds they see. Bird lists are submitted from around the world! This survey can even be done from inside your home, just watching which birds visit your yard.
eBird - eBird is an app for sharing your personal birding lists. By submitting your lists to eBird, you can help other birders find birding hotspots and help researchers to identify population trends. Data can be entered via the app or through their website on your computer. You can also submit your list to the Lahontan Audubon Society eBird group to connect with your fellow local birders.